URUGUAY, Juan Andrés Nopitsch •
The Providencia Educational Center has grown, and it has transformed itself during these twenty-four years thanks to the support of many heroes: little ones, their families, educators, volunteers, organizations, the state, businesses, among others…together we all build Providencia. We will relate some activities that transformed the place quite a bit this month. –
During the year, several Maintenance Sessions are carried out jointly with the little ones, their families and the teachers. But these sessions are about much more than just a Saturday workday. Behind them, there is a group of parents who voluntarily register with the commission of organizing them jointly with a psychosocial team. It is a group that looks for ideas to cover different needs; it obtains needed materials, and during the session, they guide all the participants.
Families feel that this place is also for them
“At the end of February, during the first meeting of the school’s family members, we also invited the mothers, fathers, uncles, and grandparents of a little one to form part of the commission that organizes the maintenance sessions”, Carolina Naya, Social Worker of the Providencia School explains. “What we seek for these sessions that we always think jointly with the families. The main objective is for families to involve themselves in another place, that they feel Providencia is their home, that their children recognize that family members are interested in them having a better place and above all, that the session is enjoyable, in which families feel that this space is for them and not only for their children.”
The result that this process generates on this day is not only in the very valuable contributions in regards to infrastructure, but that a very enjoyable family-oriented atmosphere is created that is happy, and is one of shared work with great interaction. “The children enjoy it very much because they feel a co-responsibility, they notice that this does not work if it is not done together with one another,” Carolina added.
The parents and family members have a leading role in these sessions. They are the ones who decide what things should be improved and they develop it during the session. They divide into groups; some are in charge of welcoming all the families, others are in charge of the materials, and others are in charge of every specific activity. “The teachers accompany and offer support so that parents are the leaders and the ones who develop the session. It is a long process, but it is very satisfying.”
Covenant Solidarity with two businesses
However the Maintenance Session with the families is not our only experience. Volunteers from two businesses joined us and helped us enormously to transform the place during these two Volunteer Sessions. During the year, we invite businesses to join the work that Providencia carries out involving their collaborators and even their families. These sessions that can be on time or run long term are very important for us. Since it allows us to continue to encourage the work jointly with others, which is a fundamental part of Providencia’s history, and it allows us to greatly improve the educational center.
In the first place, an energetic group of volunteers from Sodexo (a business of quality of life services) helped us to prepare the garden. Silvina Martínez from Sodexo’s Operations and Customer Service area, commented: “In the business, we have done this kind of work for sometime. Every year we suggest supporting an organization. And the truth is that it has been a beautiful experience. We are very happy.” We also welcomed a group of volunteers from Movie (a business of events and live-performances). Laura Voituret, Area Coordinator of Providencia’s Institutional Development office commented: “It is a pleasure to once again welcome friends from Movie. Every time that they come, the Educational Center is transformed, but not only for what changes physically, but also because of the level of detail and dedication with which they participate, they also transmit their energy and drive to us. It is a joy to share the activity with them. This time, they joined approximately sixty volunteers of all ages and all areas from Movie, and they always come with great enthusiasm to share with the children, to enjoy themselves, and to work with great commitment!”
During the year, there are still several sessions in which we hope to continue to improve our “home” and to transform ourselves.
About Providencia Educational Center
Providencia Educational Center is located in the Cerro Oeste (Montevideo, Uruguay), it was created in 1994, founded by members of the Schoenstatt Movement and neighbors from the neighborhood, with the objective of accompanying the area’s children and youths in their development as free persons, helping them to discover their potential, and accompanying them in the development of their originality. Over the years, the Blessed Mother has made Providencia Schoenstatt’s missionary and pedagogical charism a reality, in a special, original way that in Uruguay seeks to embody a way of looking at education, attachment, and working on spirituality.
Original: Spanish. 10 May 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA